• Michael Anger

ESA Space Solutions Project FLAMES – Successful Demonstration Campaign of Unisphere and Matternet

ESA Space Solutions Project FLAMES – Successful Demonstration Campaign of Unisphere and Matternet

Constance, Mountain View – February 2nd, 2022 – FLAMES, supported by the ESA Space Solutions program, has successfully concluded its demonstration campaign. The project, jointly executed by Unisphere (Germany), Matternet (US), and Nordic Unmanned (Norway), tackled two initiatives. First, the ability of simulation technologies to generated accurate drone flight simulations to increase automation of delivery operations in urban environments, and second, optimizing maritime emissions monitoring through automated flight planning solutions.

Drone delivery in an urban environment

For the first time, simulation technology is being integrated with high-resolution weather forecasts, Copernicus digital elevation data, and aircraft performance models to create highly-accurate drone flight simulations aka “digital twins.” Since October 2021, project partners Matternet and Unisphere have validated the technology via a demonstration campaign with commercial BVLOS drone flights over the cities of Lugano and Zurich in Switzerland.

Within the FLAMES project, Unisphere has developed a generic approach to create an aircraft performance model for drones as part of its automated flight planning software platform. During the demonstration campaign, Matternet used and corroborated the simulation results through real-life drone operations in Switzerland. The results show that Unisphere’s approach significantly improves the accuracy of trajectory simulations in terms of flight time and battery state of charge at landing. The integrated performance model has improved the simulation accuracy to more than 95%.

Precise and reliable simulation technology is essential to further increase drone flight automation. Accurate “digital twins” underpin a variety of key functionalities such as automated flight planning, conformance monitoring, and autonomous reaction to in-flight changes – functions that are key to building a safe, digitalized airspace.

About Unisphere

Unisphere is a specialist for smart software solutions to automate the flight operations of drones and air taxis. The software platform is used by leading BVLOS drone operators and supports both piloted and fully automated flight operations based on its unique simulation technology. Our data-driven analytics solutions enable vertiport and air taxi companies in the design and decision-making process for Urban Air Mobility services. Unisphere was founded in 2017 and is situated in Konstanz, Germany.

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About Matternet

Matternet has developed best-in-class technology for on-demand, aerial delivery in urban environments. The company provides its technology platform-as-a-service to healthcare and logistics organizations. In March 2017, Matternet became the first company in the world to be authorized for commercial BVLOS operations of drone logistics networks over cities in Switzerland. In March 2019, Matternet and UPS announced a partnership to provide drone delivery services to US healthcare systems. In October 2019, Matternet's technology enabled the first FAA-Approved Drone Airline in the US, UPS Flight Forward. In November 2020, Matternet initiated the first permanent medical BVLOS drone network in the European Union with Labor Berlin. In September 2021, Matternet powered the first Covid-19 vaccine drone delivery in the United States and announced the world’s first city-wide drone network in Abu Dhabi with the Emirate’s Department of Health. To date, Matternet technology has enabled 15,000+ commercial revenue drone flights. For more information, please visit:

About ESA Space Solutions

ESA Space Solutions is the go-to place for great business ideas involving space in all areas of society and the economy. It supports entrepreneurs in Europe in the development of business using satellite applications and space technology.

The program is designed to provide multiple entry points such as ESA Business Incubation Centres (ESA BICs), ESA Technology Transfer Broker Network, ESA Business Application Ambassadors, and the ESA Business Applications program. It also supports innovative ideas to transfer space technology into non-space markets or vice versa.

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